• Published 12th Mar 2016
  • 8,692 Views, 206 Comments

Ultimatum - Starscribe

Celestia and Luna were created by aliens to rule Equestria in the name of their creators. They decided not to. Everything worked out okay, until their creators returned to collect their due. That's when Twilight Sparkle got involved...

  • ...


Twilight’s guest didn’t actually need to see the city. Twilight understood that, but her friends didn’t, so they proceeded with the tour as planned. Torres looked a little distant through most of it, but she put on an air of enthusiasm whenever any of the girls spoke with her, and that seemed to be enough.

Their visit hadn’t been announced, so once they put some distance between them and the train station they were able to disappear into the city and experience it more. Twilight wasn’t so much recognized by many of the ponies as her wings were, making it impossible for the ambassador to get a completely authentic experience.

They visited lots of popular tourist destinations, ate in a fancy restaurant, caught a play. The end of the night found them all sharing a rooftop balcony, watching the stars. Well, they watched. Torres seemed more concerned with her work, staring at her little square of metal and somehow willing words into existence upon it. If it was a spell, she radiated no magic while she did it, but that was so common a theme from the ambassador that Twilight had learned to ignore it.

“Torres Dear, I’ve just realized something.” Rarity set down her glass, looking over at the earth pony.

Whatever else the ambassador might be, she was polite enough to look away from her writing. Twilight wasn’t sure if she wanted that right now or not. Had Torres not come as an assessor of her whole planet, she might’ve enjoyed and respected the attitude. Yet did she want her work interrupted now? “Yes, Rarity?”

“You’ve seen and asked all sorts of questions about Equestria, yet I feel so dreadfully ignorant about your home. I understand your visit was only meant to last a day: could you at least tell us about it before you go?”

Torres grinned, setting down her pad. “I’ve got an hour before they take this body back. What would you like to know?”

Rarity frowned at the odd remark, but didn’t waste a question on it. It wasn’t the first strange thing the mare had said today. “Well, dear... How does it compare? Is it the sort of place we would enjoy visiting? Given all you’ve seen of us today.”

She shrugged one shoulder. “You might. I think you’d be a little overwhelmed, honestly.”

All Twilight’s friends looked worn-out from the day. A few were better at handling the exhaustion than others. To her great surprise however it was Fluttershy who spoke up next. “Are they nice? Um... Your ponies, I mean.”

“Not ponies.” Torres leaned back in her chair. “We’re called humans. Are we nice, well...” She seemed to think about that. “We try to be. But you’ve got to understand, life has been hard for humans for a very long time.”

“How could it be hard?” Rainbow didn’t exactly sit so much as float nearby, watching the surrounding air with suspicious eyes. “Didn’t you come from space?”

Torres nodded. “We’d be extinct now if we hadn’t.”

Even Rainbow grew somber at that.

Twilight frowned. “Why?”

The ambassador no longer seemed distracted by her pad. “Are you certain you want to know the answer, Twilight Sparkle? You cannot unhear the answer once I give it.”

She wished she hadn’t asked. She sat up, and intended to say that she didn’t want to, but she was too slow.

“Ah’ reckon not knowing’ ain’t gonna make it less true.” Applejack rose to her hooves, shaking her head to banish a little of the tiredness. The others muttered agreement.

“You have wars on your world, don’t you?”

They all nodded again, though the answer was much less definite. Equestria had seen a few battles in their lifetimes, but no wars. Twilight knew, at least academically, that the rest of the world was less peaceful.

“Imagine a war that never ended. Imagine—imagine instead of fighting another country, you were fighting a force, like... like the wind, or the sunrise.”

“We’d stop it,” Rainbow interrupted. “If a wind tries to get out of scale, we’d wrangle it back where it should be and find out which factory got their production wrong.”

“Celestia wouldn’t mess up with the sunrise,” Pinkie Pie added. “Otherwise, we’d be in the dark! Her sister wouldn’t let her forget. That’s what sisters are for!”

Torres rolled her eyes. “Right. Bad metaphor. How about—you’ve got an ocean. Imagine a tsunami so huge it could wash away a city. Has that ever happened?”

Twilight nodded. “Occasionally. It’s rarer in Equestria, since most tsunamis are weather-related, and we have teams to patrol the coast. But... It could happen.”

“Well, there aren’t any teams that can stop this. It’s rising a red tide rising through space; and has been for tens of thousands of years. When it gets close to a planet, terrible things happen. When it gets there, everyone dies. Everyone.” She seemed to grow weaker, deflating into her chair. “What do you do when the tide rises? You move. That’s all we’ve been able to do. Try to slow it down... Protect developing worlds like yours... But nowhere can hold forever.”

Twilight alone had the presence of mind to speak. “Is this ‘tide’ coming for Equestria?”

Torres nodded. “That’s why our visit was so urgent. We have your genetic profile—we’ve been able to grow ‘ponies’ for a long time. But that’s not enough. We don’t want to save your fucking genetic material!” The pony rose to her hooves, shoving away from her chair. She was practically shouting now, though not at anypony in particular. She shouted at the night itself—the sky, anyway. “Great we came when we did. Your God damn ostrich ‘princesses’ were happy to sit back and let their planet burn.” She shoved past them all, to the edge of the roof. As she moved, it was almost as though an angry unicorn were moving from the group. Little objects—rocks, glasses, little plates of hors-d’oeuvres—went flying away from her in a uniform circle.

Still Twilight felt no magic, even as she saw it before her eyes. The ‘earth pony’ stared down at the city. “Imperial navy has been around for almost ten thousand years, and do you know how many aliens we ever found? Fucking none!” Tears streamed from her eyes. “So many ruins, so many empty worlds!”

She surged backwards, clutching at Twilight’s shoulder. Her grip was as strong as any earth pony’s. Well, no, there was more. There was something clutching at her mind as well, an alien presence more insistent than ever Queen Chrysalis or her changelings had been. Yet for all the strangeness of the intelligence, it didn’t seem to actually be trying to compel her to anything. “We’ve been alone for so long! No way in hell we’re going to lose the first friends we ever found!”

She let go. Half a dozen little objects—stones and shot glasses and bottle caps—dropped to the ground. The pony, previously swollen with power, suddenly seemed very, very small. Her ears and tail drooped. “I’m—I should go. Thanks for everything, ponies.”


Too slow. The pony faded, her body becoming transparent. Another few seconds, and her teleport completed, leaving only empty air.

* * *

Twilight Sparkle returned to Canterlot the next day, to deliver her report to Celestia. There was no sign of the aliens waiting there. Her princesses hadn’t been attacked, and neither (apparently) had any part of Equestria. Yet that did not settle Twilight’s conscience, or the growing uneasiness she couldn’t quite banish.

“Is it true?” she asked Celestia, when she was done explaining the last details of the alien’s visit. “Is there really some kind of...” She struggled to find the right word. “War” certainly wasn't it. “Danger? Is there really danger to Equestria from out there, like the aliens said?”

They were alone in one of Celestia's tower rooms, overlooking the castle grounds. There were no guards to overhear. Her friends had volunteered to come, but… Twilight had told them not to. Only she had been told about the secrets under Equestria. She didn't want to bring anypony if they might discourage Celestia from being honest.

Celestia nodded. “The dangers are very real, but Equestria has triumphed over all of them.”

Twilight couldn't meet her face. Instead she looked out the window, taking in the life below. Gardeners trimmed the castle lawns, birds sung, and further still thousands of ponies went about their lives. With such peace, it was hard to imagine anything else. “What do you mean?”

Celestia chuckled. “How many monsters have you and your friends fought in the last five years?” She didn't wait for an answer. “More dangerous every year the Red Tide gets closer. They did not tell Luna and I very much about it, but they did say it would create monsters. Discord, for instance.”

“But—” Twilight turned her back on the window, looking directly at Celestia. “But Discord reformed!”

“He did, didn't he.” She shrugged a shoulder. “The Creators know much, Twilight. But as a little lavender unicorn once had to learn, just knowing things isn't enough. Ponies—and Creators too, I think—can easily see all they know and forget there is more that they don't. Yes, there are dangers. When they made us, the Creators said trillions had died in the Tide. Their way of fighting it must not be working. Luna and I decided to try—”

A shadow filled the window. The whole mountain shook. Twilight moved to look, but Celestia didn’t. She just walked away from the window, towards a portrait on the far wall.

The starship filled the sky, vaster than the mountain, vaster than all of Ponyville and Sweet Apple Acres and probably Manehattan as well. Most frightening about it was the distant way the ship looked, blurring into indistinct lines. If it was big enough to fill all the sky when it was far away, how much bigger would it be if it landed? The massive shape was longer than it was wide, elegant sloping metal broken by thousands of ridges, openings, lights, or other faintly moving apparatus. A hundred little glittering shapes buzzed around it like insects, little ships that defied the construction of the wisest griffon artisans. Openings along its bottom glowed a brilliant blue, and as they did the whole earth shook beneath her hooves.

Ponies screamed in the city below, running in terror. Hooves trampled through the hallways of the castle beneath her, and guard pegasi scrambled in the air. It was greatly to their credit that they did anything at all.

Twilight turned, her mane blurring around her briefly as her eyes widened in desperation. “Are they going to attack? Should I get the elements? I could probably be in Ponyville in—”

“They won’t attack, my dear Twilight. Why would they need to? Once Luna and I are dead, it will be easy to replace us with new alicorns and win Equestria without a fight.”

“What?” Hot tears burned Twilight’s cheeks, and she hurried up to Celestia, eyes wide with terror. “But our meeting went so well, Princess! Torres said she was sure we’d be able to convince their leaders. Why would they kill you now?”

Celestia wrapped one wing around her, pulling her head to her chest. “Oh, my dear Twilight. Luna and I always knew it was hopeless. We hoped we’d have succeeded before they came—if we didn’t, we knew we would die. It’s alright. I’ve got a fantastic student to take over for me when I’m gone.”

“We won’t let them!” Twilight pulled away, facing the window and lowering herself into a fighting crouch. “We fought Tirek! We reformed Discord! Together, we—”

“It’s not that simple.” Celestia’s voice was loving, gently reproving. “There are mechanisms inside us, Twilight. Spells designed to prevent us from being corrupted as Discord once was. Once they’re triggered, we can do nothing to stop them. We’ll die.” She reached out with a wing, touching Twilight gently on the shoulder. “Please. Look at me.”

She did. The strength fled her body at Celestia’s words, her ears flattening. The betrayal twisted like a knife within Twilight’s chest, yet she forced herself to look up. The one pony she thought she would never lose, the one friend whose rule was eternal and kindness had no bounds, was going to die before her eyes.

“Okay.” Twilight hugged her, forgetting all her decorum, all her fear. She cried freely.

Celestia did too.

“Shouldn’t your sister be here?”

She felt more than saw Celestia shake her head. Outside, bells rang in Canterlot’s streets, as constable ponies tried to restore order. Soldiers shouted outside, searching in vain for the princesses. This once Celestia did not identify herself, and apparently Luna didn’t either. There was no point when doing so would only let your subjects see you die.

“No.” Celestia’s voice was quiet. “We made our peace last night, during your time with the assessor. We’ve had each other for years—we agreed that we should spend our final moments with the ponies who will need to be strongest for Equestria once we’re gone.” She reached out, and Twilight felt her mentor’s magic gently caress her cheek, wiping the tears away. “Don’t cry too much for me, Twilight. I had a very long life. Thanks to you, I can die with fewer regrets.”

Twilight couldn’t bring herself to reply.

They stayed like that a long time. Twilight feared what was to come. Would she watch Celestia die in agony, or would she just vanish? What would Equestria be like without its rulers? Who would move the sun? Could Cadence do it, without the more senior princesses? She had no mind for rational considerations, not with so much emotion flooding her. It was all she could do to wait.

Minutes passed. The rumbling from outside faded, though the flurry of activity only grew more intense. Ponies shouted orders, the castle prepared itself for a siege. Celestia didn’t melt, or catch fire, or burn away. She didn’t stop breathing, or have some kind of heart attack.

It was the most painful moment of Twilight’s life, and she couldn’t have said how long it took.

Eventually though, the moment ended. Ended with a rumbling voice, echoing across the sky. The voice didn’t seem to have a specific source; it echoed from every flat surface, every glass, every pool of water. “PONIES OF EQUESTRIA, WE COME IN PEACE!”

Twilight forced herself away from Celestia, towards the window. The massive metal hulk was still there in the sky, terrifying in its scope. Even as she watched, a sparkle of golden light separated from the cloud, flying straight towards Canterlot.

A roar like a sonic rainboom shook the sky as it moved, traveling on towards Canterlot with unfathomable speed. After only a few moments in the air it began to slow, and Twilight could get a good look. It was easily the size of a large building, glittering golden metal in a style far more formal and impressive than all the little ships in the sky. It had many windows like stained glass.

It froze completely in the air above the castle, then started to descend. It landed in the streets just outside the grounds, in the area normally occupied by the carriages of ponies who came to visit the princesses. The ground shook a little as it touched down, its vertical shape somehow holding steady without legs or other supports.

Celestia approached the window beside her, watching with shock. “Why—why haven’t—”

Someone spoke beside them. Twilight knew the voice, though she could scarcely imagine how it might be here now. It was Torres. “Captain Layton is waiting for you in the lander, Princess. I suggest you get your sister and the most important ponies you can and meet them. They’ll wait for you—make it properly dramatic that way.”

Twilight turned. As she had expected, it was the pony body the ambassador had used the day before, not her human form.

“Why?” Celestia spoke beside her, somewhere between shock and relief. “Equestria deserves better than to watch their rulers die before them. Luna and I will not cooperate in that.”

Torres withdrew a little, wilting. “Nothing like that, Princess Celestia.”

“That’s my name.” The alicorn’s expression wavered a little, but her tone didn’t soften. “What happened to using my fleet serial?”

Torres swallowed, then straightened. “The Imperial Fleet thanks you for your many years of meritorious service. They sent me ahead to communicate their regret that your services as contractors are no longer required.”

Twilight nearly screamed as the pony reached to her side, at a satchel hanging from one shoulder. She didn’t react fast enough to stop her, though.

Torres tossed a glittering medal at Celestia’s hooves. It wasn’t large, not compared to some of Celestia’s jewelry, showing what looked like a miniature silhouette of the ship outside and some tiny text in the alien language. “Since you’re dismissed, it seemed right to use your proper name. The captain would probably see it differently. But I’m an engineer, not an officer.” She tossed another, slightly darker medal to the ground. “That one’s for your sister. You… probably shouldn’t show anyone.”

Twilight had to admit—seeing Celestia shocked and amazed for once made the stress of the last hour almost worth it. Almost.

Torres continued. “We thought you would probably prefer your history with the fleet not widely known. The decision is yours, but we guessed it would increase the hostility Equestria faces from other nations. They’ll be harder to uplift if they’re angry and suspicious.”

Celestia was still too shocked to reply. Twilight wasn’t. “We changed their minds?”

“It’s complicated and political and unfortunately I don’t think you’d understand…” The “pony” shrugged. “Celestia and her sister did good work, in some ways. The danger isn’t here yet, and… they obviously protected your planet from its growing influence in this space. It wasn’t as though we needed the extra troops. Heck, ponies could all be a hundred times smarter than we are and we’d have been fine without you.”

Twilight balked. “But, if you didn’t need us to help you fight, or to help you think of how not to, why even come?”

Torres smiled, walking past the two of them and looking out the window herself. She seemed to have regained her composure, because she didn’t seem afraid of Celestia anymore.

Twilight followed, watching out the window. A crowd of hundreds of ponies was gathering around the alien ship. Guards stopped ponies from getting too close, but they didn’t have much work to do. The ponies weren’t all that unruly, just curious. Awed, maybe. She figured that was an appropriate reaction under the circumstances.

“We didn’t come to Equestria because we needed you. We came because we wanted a friend.” She turned, lowering her head respectfully to Celestia. “The admiralty board agreed. Maybe you failed at your original mission, but… maybe your original mission wasn’t terribly inspired to begin with.”

Celestia had recovered by then, at least enough to speak. She still sounded a little awed herself. “So what happens now? What will you do?”

Torres gestured out the window. “Your world must change. The board decided that change could come through contact.” Her eyes narrowed. “It was wrong of you to lie. Wrong not to give your people a choice. Don’t take this as the board condoning your actions.” She gestured at Twilight. “How many people like this have been wasted on old age because you kept your people away from modern medicine? How much hope could your species have brought to our tired galaxy two centuries ago when the Homeworld fell?”

Torres shivered, but didn’t elaborate on that subject. “We do not pretend to understand what you’ve done here, or to agree with much of it. Yet the board decided it was wrong to judge you. Your own people will do that—a few hundred years from now, when they know what you’ve done.”

A little of the anger returned to Celestia’s words, though not nearly so much as before. “Our little ponies would never kill us as you threatened to do. They’re too good to earn performance by threatening with murder.”

“Neither will we.” Torres reached into the saddlebags one last time, drawing out a lump of metal almost too heavy for her to hold in her mouth. Instead of throwing it, she set it down on a nearby table. It was a device of some kind, though Twilight’s eyes had no context to understand it. A flat metal base with a transparent dome, within which a speck of something floated and glowed. There were controls on the base, though the buttons were too small for pony hooves.

“This is the failsafe, the one your creators told you about when you were assigned. As your service has ended, your compulsion ends as well.”

“If that is so, what is to prevent us from burning that ship of yours from our skies?” Twilight recognized the voice at once, as much from the fierce pride there as familiarity with the tone. Princess Luna watched from the doorway, though she had eyes only for the device. It looked like a bunch of nonsense to Twilight, but from hers and Celestia’s expressions, it was sacred treasure.

Torres did not attempt to take the device back. Instead she stepped away, retreating from it. “Nothing! Or… nothing now. I’m just an engineer, so don’t take military advice from me. Still, I... I wouldn’t suggest a war. The admiralty thought your planet conquered, Princess, not disobedient. We came expecting to fight a war of liberation on your behalf.”

She smiled sadly. “After what I saw yesterday I would really rather be friends. Please don’t force us not to be.”

The princesses shared a look. Twilight couldn’t read Celestia’s expression, despite her several years of knowing her. The alicorns’ expressions were complex, as they glanced from Torres to the window and back to Twilight. Some kind of understanding passed between them.

Eventually, Celestia straightened. “Come, Twilight. I believe we have aliens outside our gates. We ought to go and meet them.”

Comments ( 176 )
mark218 #1 · Mar 12th, 2016 · · 1 ·

Well that was nice. A little confusing at the end, but nice.

I liked it! Now I really want to read more. Any chances for a sequel?

Seriously?” That was Rainbow Dash again. “Twilight, only you could find us an alien who makes lists. This is the most boring disaster ever.”

Best line. :twilightsmile:

Really liked the theme of "humanity looking for friendship in the stars", but I'm a little confused on one point. Torres implies that her homeworld was uplifted in a similar way to what they expected to find on Equestria, but then the climax hinges on the fact that Equestria is the first alien world they've found, and their civilisation is humans-only. How does that work?

Gorgey #4 · Mar 12th, 2016 · · 7 ·

Celestia seems too much a hypocrite in these lines and the beginning. She claims that they are forcing her to work to their standards by threatening death, but in reality their threat is meaningless, merely a way to bring the danger of the red tide to a more understandable level.
On the other hand, it is obvious she uses her power as a threat during diplomacy, and holds advancement back in non-equestrian countries.
Her response to being let loose from military command in a peaceful fashion instead of executed for treason, negligence, and refusing to follow orders is to immediately threaten the ship above and potentially force this world into an impossible war. Never mind that this story makes it clear that her control over the sun isn't magical, thus her magical power won't be reaching the godlike heights assumed by base mlp. Her magic power wasn't engineered like the rest of her.

Banchoking eat your heart out.

smolbep #6 · Mar 12th, 2016 · · 7 ·


All for a sequel, say Yea. All not for a sequel, shut up and get out.

Dipti #7 · Mar 12th, 2016 · · 10 ·

Considering they can make alicorns Celestia and Luna arn't a threat to them. If you know how something ticks you can make the ticking stop. That comment at the end by Luna just because of that knowledge just rubs me the wrong way it's a hollow a threat as Rainbow boasts. If they wished they could produce a million Alicorns or even greater monstrosities if they so desired. If there is a sequel i hope the sun and the moon get there dues not torture or exile but defiantly removed from power. Gorgey stated quit planely their incompetence...

7023491 Torres's homeworld was a colony, I expect. Colonies also have to be built up and developed.

This was weird, but interesting. I liked the ending.

Dude's gonna have a heart attack.

Dunno, though. It kinda felt like it started in the middle of events and then... kinda stopped in a different middle of events. Somewhat incomplete. Should maybe have been somewhat longer.

A poor wayfaring mare of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer 'neigh'

I would expect colonies to begin with all the technology of the colonising world, in knowledge even if not in ability to manufacture all of it. Torres makes a definite reference that her homeworld "independently developed to a class 1 civilisation", and that that was what they expected to find on Equestria.

That doesn't quite fit with just being a colony that only really needed to scale up stuff they already had, and more closely fits with being guided from a pre-industrial world by some of Celestia and Luna's predecessors. Celestia and Luna being referred to as EU-81 Alpha and Beta also pretty strongly implies there might have been EU-some-number-lower-than-81 responsible for guiding Oritheon and other worlds to the Kardashev 1 level as well.

It just sounds like there's something else to that story that didn't quite fit into the narrative we saw. It's not necessarily a bad thing to leave out details that would take a lot of explanation, it just makes me wonder what the answer is.

wlam #13 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 3 ·

Personally, I have to say I honestly don't sympathize with Luna and Celestia in this. They fucked up, majorly. They surrendered to their fears and put their entire civilization and uncounted species at risk by trying to stick their heads in the sand. They tried to shut out reality and the outside world and the outside world decided that it didn't care. It didn't work and never could have worked. You can't run away from some things. Life will catch you up.

In my opinion, they're pretty unequivocally in the wrong here.

7023998 We make things that threaten us all the time. Sometimes entirely by accident. :rainbowlaugh:

7023601 That was Luna making the threat, though I don't think she was intending for it to be taken seriously.

The humans in this are sanctimonious and need a good drubbing upside the head. "Ponies aren't developing how we want so we'll force the issue, one way or another" isn't exactly congruent with "we want friends." :facehoof:

Story certainly did a great job of ratcheting up the tension, for me at least. I'm not sure I have any unchewed fingernails left. :rainbowlaugh:

Gorgey #15 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 3 ·


You realize that from their perspective if they don't advance they die either way right? Their statement is equivalent to, "If you don't lead your people to safety, your goddamn useless, we remove you and find another way to save them from extinction."
Celestia and Luna have been hiding a world ending disaster that they were installed to work against. Then the humans come back to find their doing practically nothing in preparation to fight, and nothing at all to the idea of survival. Their only plan is to hope that they can friendship a force of nature. It was also made it clear that the sisters were holding back technology, not only from the knowledge they had but in how independents would advance.

7024951 They are leading their people to safety, as best they can. The humans' methods aren't successful against their foe, and they seem oblivious to this failing, so the Sisters are trying something else.

wlam #17 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 3 ·

Apathy is not an actual solution to anything. It's not even attempting one. Sitting around going "trust in ~friendship~ and everything will work out for the best" is ludicrous arrogance, if anything. The humans may not be winning, but at least they're surviving. The apparently uncountable dead worlds they've already found, who failed to get their ass in gear in time and do even that much, kind of bears the fact out that wishing on a star is clearly not going to solve this.

7024992 They're not being apathetic, though. They're developing differently. Celestia explicitly mentions that Twilight keeps winning against every threat.

Regardless, the Equestrians' level of development is utterly irrelevant to the humans' goals; given their ridiculous infrastructural capabilities, if it came down to it they could scoop up the entire planetary civilization and make off with it before it could be destroyed. :rainbowlaugh:

wlam #19 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 3 ·

She keeps winning against literally cartoonish threats from a children's TV show, though. That doesn't really translate, in any way, shape or form, into winning against a force that swallows solar systems and entire species whole. She has just nothing to actually oppose that with. It's entirely false confidence. Celestia is simply wrong about this.

Regardless, the Equestrians' level of development is utterly irrelevant to the humans' goals; given their ridiculous infrastructural capabilities, if it came down to it they could scoop up the entire planetary civilization and make off with it before it could be destroyed. :rainbowlaugh:

I suppose that's not wrong. :rainbowlaugh:

Those cartoonish threats are essentially the harbingers of this 'Red Tide' that's threatening the galaxy though.

To be honest, it isn't really clear what exactly the humans want in this story; Celestia and Luna are supposed to uplift the Equestrian, either to make it a province of the Human Space Empire, or so they can be friends with an alien civilization. Yet it seems to me that being friends with a civilization isn't the same thing as needing that civilization to be one the same level as one's own, and uplifting the species doesn't appear to have any goal other than making their civilization equal to one another.

It's... confusing, especially since the humans don't need the Equestrians to fight alongside them.

wlam #21 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 2 ·


Those cartoonish threats are essentially the harbingers of this 'Red Tide' that's threatening the galaxy though.

If the rest of it was that easy to deal with, I don't think it would really be a problem to begin with. Under the bottom line, the show's cast really ended up not actually solving all that many of its problems by befriending them. They pretty conventionally beat the tar out of most of the rest in some fashion.

Yet it seems to me that being friends with a civilization isn't the same thing as needing that civilization to be one the same level as one's own, and uplifting the species doesn't appear to have any goal other than making their civilization equal to one another.

Why wouldn't you want to improve your friends lives just for the sake of making them better? I know a lot of fiction of this type tends to make an effort to be cynical and bitter these days just for the sake of it, as if that makes it more genuine, but simply uplifting them out of a desire to make their lives better from their perspective doesn't seem like it would really be that foreign of a sentiment to most people. The whole thing Torres says about uncounted people wastefully dying of old age because the princesses wouldn't give them proper modern medicine kind of encapsulates that, I think.

7025065 Well, the whole story here doesn't really fit within the framework of a cartoonish children's show, given the entire stratum of bones of the murdered victims of Discord. :rainbowlaugh:

Celestia is basically trying to save their planet by building a Planetary Friendship Cannon out of Twilight and her friends. So far the plan seems to be working (see: Tirek); we haven't even seen their final form, yet. :pinkiecrazy:


If the rest of it was that easy to deal with, I don't think it would really be a problem to begin with.

I think Starscribe is imagining them as somewhat more horrifying in nature, even though they were defeated. Moreover, even within the cartoon, I think you're underestimating how scary something like Discord or Tirek would be in the real world.

Why wouldn't you want to improve your friends lives just for the sake of making them better?

It's not unusual to want to improve a friend's life, but it is something else if you're improving their lives without asking if they'd be alright with that, or without their knowledge.

Something that always bugged me about how some people seem to see the MLP universe is that they're assuming that because their world isn't on par with our world, they must be less advanced. Yet, it seems to me that rather than being 'less advanced' because they don't know how, it's a matter of choice. Probably not a choice they've made on a conscious level, but a choice nevertheless. For example, Twilight brings up quantum physics in Hooffields and McColts, which probably means their science isn't that far behind us in the greater scheme of things.

My problem with the human's behavior in this story is that they apparently don't care to be friends with aliens who have, say, their own cultural and mindsets of how to do things. In a sense, they're not really interested in being friends with an alien civilization, but rather a human one--a small adorable human one that walks on hooves.


I think Starscribe is imagining them as somewhat more horrifying in nature, even though they were defeated. Moreover, even within the cartoon, I think you're underestimating how scary something like Discord or Tirek would be in the real world.

They most certainly would be scary creatures for us measly humans, but they are problems that could be dealt with by modern society by say, dropping a nuclear warhead on top of their heads (and before you say anything about Discord I'll point out that it's clear his powers have some kind of limits given Tirek beat him, and he could definitely be beaten by a nuke). Now granted this would be a costly solution, but modern society could still make it happen.

Now consider that these humans are much more advanced than modern society, what with spaceships and teleporters, likely possesing orbital bombardment capabilities and likely a massive population that they can send millions of soldiers to what they know will be their deaths. This must be a damn powerful civilization.

Then consider that this highly advanced and powerful civilization lost Earth to the red tide, Earth. They would have likely fought tooth and nail for this world, and they still lost. Given this knowledge I would imagine that the Red Tide has much more to throw at Equestria than what its seen so far. I would also point out thatgiven the way its described, attrition is likely a major part of its success, and it doesn't matter how strong you are, if your opponent has enough stuff to throw at you, eventually they'll wear you down or even just get lucky.


(and before you say anything about Discord I'll point out that it's clear his powers have some kind of limits given Tirek beat him, and he could definitely be beaten by a nuke).

Tirek have ability to drain magic out of his victims. This is have he beat Discord. Nuke can't do the same thing so it rather unclear if you can beat Discord with it.

For 7025851: Discord cannot be nuked but he can be stopped by other weapons.

Opinion: I can't say that Equestria has done the right decision though they are on the right path.The use of Elements of Harmony is,however, only temporary medicine for problem.Fighting with red tide is like fighting with cancer.If you use medicine (Elements of Harmony) you may get remission (break between enemies) but you can't count on remission forever because relapse can suddenly reveal itself and you will need to apply medicine again either you are dead.Unfortunatly,somewhen relapse of the red tide will be so powerful that no medicine will be able to cause remission again.Also at given time there is no sign that there is any effective method of "curing" red tide completly aside from escape.

We can suggest that magic is a core of the red tide and red tide can be beaten by proper use of magic but we don't even know about how magic works in this universe.I really don't like the concept Starscribe used in Ponies after People universe and the only thing I can do is to hope that he didn't use similar scheme again (spoilers for PaP ahead:we know that humans don't die while standing near ponies so that is at least one distinction from PaP magic concept) but this is a theme for another conversation.
We don't know what is magic in this particular story.It may have similar to PaP concept where in interacts only with souls and black holes or it may be a sort of field that exist in our plain of reality.

Whatever magic is,we have only two clear things:
1.Neither of the sides posesses an effective way for fighting the red tide
2.Elements of Harmony are a temporary desicion and sooner or later they won't be able to fight with threats of the red tide.

wlam #27 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 2 ·


I think Starscribe is imagining them as somewhat more horrifying in nature, even though they were defeated. Moreover, even within the cartoon, I think you're underestimating how scary something like Discord or Tirek would be in the real world.

Personally, I'm subscribing to the "if it's not shown, it's not actually there" mindset in regards to differences from the canon setting, but that's something you could argue about, so I'm not going to contest this. I still think that admittedly global threats like this are not comparable to something that it expanding spherically through at least one entire galaxy and must be covering literally trillions of cubic light years of space at this point. No one single person can compete with that outside of a story for children, which I'd say this story has as one of its conceits that it isn't. The scales are just unimaginably larger. It's like comparing a speck of dust to all the oceans ever.

It's not unusual to want to improve a friend's life, but it is something else if you're improving their lives without asking if they'd be alright with that, or without their knowledge.

Something that always bugged me about how some people seem to see the MLP universe is that they're assuming that because their world isn't on par with our world

In this case, it clearly is less advanced, just factually. Humans are, between the lines, immortals who can move planets, with immense personal power, and don't even use anything the ponies would recognize as magic. Torres clearly expected everyone to be immortal by now, like the princesses that their species had engineered. I must give you the thing about outside influences possibly destroying a thriving native culture and in most cases, I'd honestly agree with you there, to a degree. Different does not intrinsically mean worse. We are also talking about things like medical technology here, though, which I cannot agree is, in any way, ever anything but a purely positive and constructive gain. Letting someone die when you had the means to prevent it is monstrous.

Uncounted generations of the native population had the possibility of seeing their lives and their time with their loved once extended far beyond their native capabilities, if Luna and Celestia had only given it to them. Those deaths are squarely on their own shoulders and they deserve to have to carry that guilt.

Besides that, in this case, there is simply no choice about letting them do things their own way. If they do things like the princesses want, they will die, no ifs, ands or buts, just like countless worlds before them. It's suicidal of them to act as if they have a genuine choice there - and what you do with suicidal people is to stop them from killing themselves, forcefully if necessary, for their own good.

just finished reading the whole thing, and WOW. like, holy shit. that was amazing. you should consider on writing a sequel

Wasn't it implied that Discord killed all those humans, though? despite all their technology? I agree, the red tide is clearly dangerous, yet it's also clear that Equestria isn't helpless despite their lack of a level 1 civilization.

But again, you're assuming that ponies would want to be immortal in general, or that they might not have a different relationship with such things, relative to humanity.


But again, you're assuming that ponies would want to be immortal in general, or that they might not have a different relationship with such things, relative to humanity.

Just deciding for them that all ponies are perfectly OK with dying and losing people they care about without even giving them a choice in the matter is the much bigger (and substantially more callous) assumption to make, if you ask me. It's not like anyone is proposing forcing them to take that kind of treatment. Denying it to them without even telling them the option exists, though, out of some kind of overconfident god-complex and disdain for the outside world, the way the princesses do? That's irresponsible and selfish.

I'm not suggesting anything of the sort. The end resolution, involving first contact between Equestria and the humans, is the appropriate way of handling this situation--not sending cyborgs to pose as leaders of their species and direct their development according to milestones that humans think should happen.

wlam #32 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 3 ·

For what it's worth, the way I'm reading it, Luna and Celestia had that option. Nothing in the story explicitly says that it was part of their mission to keep their origins hidden. They could have come clean to their people and introduced the technology and the cultural artifacts openly, if they had wanted to. They just chose not to.


Torres implies that her homeworld was uplifted in a similar way to what they expected to find on Equestria,

Are you sure about that? I just went back through to see if I missed something, and I couldn't find anything about Humanity being uplifted. The closest thing I saw was that she said Humanity could only try, and eventually fail, to protect developing worlds like Equis yet they say that Equis was the first sign of civilization they had found that hadn't been destroyed yet.

She states outright that her homeworld reached a "class 1 civilization" on its own, whatever that means in specific, so it can probably be taken as meaning that nobody ever uplifted humanity and they had to do it the hard way.

notme #35 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 5 ·

From what I can understand the first time they defeated Discord they needed some millions of space marines, the second time they needed six ponies with a magical set of jewelry and the third and hopefully last time a single pony willing to be his friend.

I'm just saying that if you confront the human way and the Celestia's way maybe Celestia is on to something

This story is totally awesome!!!

7026803 Hmmm... In sci-fi and not so sci-fi a class one civilization has complete control of all the energy and processes on a planet. Type 2 their star. Type 3 a galaxy. Maybe they were not uplifted but after getting comfortable they found remains and tech showing others had been around? It was a bit vague... Which isn't bad simply because it leaves the various options of what happened up to the reader.

Wait that doesn't make sense. According to the engineer/ambassador (same person), their are not other alien species outside of humans because, well they said every planet they went to was already dead. And its take humanity 50,000 to 200,000, depending when you make the argument from first human ancestor to first sign of civilization, had reached stage 1: space flight and industrial civilization. So by history, they would be progressing faster then the human race has.

Yet she indicated her world or one such world called Oritheon did it in 2-3000 years. Does that mean humanity colonize other words through genetic seeding and let them develop on their own like we did, with a faster rate due to genetic code, or am I missing something since I am pretty sure said her homeworld is not earth.

wlam #39 · Mar 13th, 2016 · · 1 ·

If it's supposed to refer to the Kardashev scale, at any rate. It's also stated that humanity has found other, abandoned worlds and the ruins of numerous dead species, so that part's a definite yes, if you ask me.

Might just be a corruption of "Earth" or maybe these humans were never from Earth to begin with. It doesn't really say.

This story was awesome. I think it would be cool to read sequel that goes into details about the changes Equestria goes through and perhaps a final confrontation with the red tide with Humans and Ponies working together.


Wasn't it implied that Discord killed all those humans, though? despite all their technology?

Yeah, they did die, but you also have to consider that it's very likely they would have held back in their full capabilities in that fight since they would have been going out of their way to avoid collateral damage given they wanted the planet's population to survive.

yet it's also clear that Equestria isn't helpless despite their lack of a level 1 civilization.

Oh clearly not, Magic lets them do a lot of things modern humans do with technology, and even things we can't do, but the point I was making is that if the Humans, with all their powerful technology and vast armies can't beat the Red Tide, but its clear the Equestrian method isn't any more effective. Now whether it would be any less effective is up for debate, I'm inclined to say it would be since without any way to flee the planet they've really only got one stand they can make, one defeat and they lose permanently, at least the humans are capable of fighting again should they lose a battle. Celestia and Luna's chosen method is just clearly (in my opinion anyway) wrought with problems and completely inadequate. Going back to attrition argument I made before, without advanced technology and hence a very large population, Equestria lacks any real way of sustaining heavy casualties like the humans have to, and that's just one area in which the Princesses plan is flawed. The human way clearly isn't working, but the Princesses way isn't going to do any better when the Red Tide pours more resources into its fight with Equestria.

The point of that example was that Discord's power has limits more than anything, he was beaten when Tirek grabbed him with magic without him expecting it, and he couldn't break free of that magic even after Tirek was gloating for a while that shows his power has limits. But for sake of argument anyway lets say that if he knew the nuke was coming he could easily put a stop to it, given how damn fast nuclear missiles can be it wouldn't be too difficult to drop one on him before he can react, or even bury one somewhere and spring it on him by surprise.

7027651 The big problem with your argument (and any other we could make) is that we don't know the nature of the red tide!
It seemed very abstract to me. If we don't what it is, we cannot judge what can or cannot stop it.
For all we know, Celestia migth be rigth to think she is onto something and that Equis can survive the arrival of the red tide, if it come to pass at all.
And she migth as well be totally wrong.

And we have no way to know.

Awsome but I conffused,
how did this end?

7028231 The humans are fucking off, the Princesses aren't in constant danger of death, Equestria is being pushed into progression, basically a happy ending.

Well, it's true that it isn't really said, but we can infer some things from context. The sheer, enormous scale of it makes it unlikely that anything living on a single planet could do much to keep it away, for example. That humanity (which is, by its own accounting, probably at least a class 2+ civilization) as well as numerous dead species could do nothing to even slow it down speaks to the simple enormity of the powers involved. There is only so much you can do at that scale. Short of taking apart most of their solar system in a matter-antimatter reaction or something, where would they take the sheer power from, for example? There are some hard physical limitations to what you can do there. That kind of thing.

This comment section is shaping out beautifully.

"I shall destroy my enemy when I make him my friend."
It's a BIG gamble, but judging by the success so far turning the red tide against itself is potentially a viable solution to the problem. We do not have the information to make that determination, of course.

Regardless, the admiralty made the right call by disposing of their failsafe measures. Killing people for screwing things up doesn't make them any less likely to do it, but makes them much more likely to go to great lengths to keep you from knowing about it. Further, killing the sisters would have permanently poisoned relations and rendered cooperation impossible.
Take the situation out of their hands, let them know their services are no longer required, thank them for their service, and wish them the best in their future endeavors. That's literally a textbook termination they showed right there, and for good reason.

Humanity in this place: AU Star Wars-like humans with Earth-like homeworld.


Celestia and Luna: ...? What?

7028358 And yet humanity is apparently ignorant of magic. Wich isn't really defined either, meaning it can be a big game changing thing just as well as it can be a big dudd.

They're very good, especially The Mote in God's Eye.

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